SOM Alumni Association
White Coat Ceremony
The White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage for entering medical students as they are welcomed into the medical community. The ceremony emphasizes the importance of humanism, compassion, and honor as integral parts of a medical career. In addition to receiving their coats, the students also receive a gift certificate for their first stethoscope.
How can you help? $200 sponsors an incoming medical student with a White Coat and Stethoscope gift certificate.
Every spring graduating students gather to share in the excitement of learning where they will complete their Medical Residency. The Alumni Association sponsors a parting gift for graduates.
The Alumni Association allocates $2,000 per school year to help sponsor students to further their education through conferences, research, and professional development opportunities. Once a travel grant is awarded the student is asked to share their experience with the Alumni Office and their peers.
How can you help? $500 assists with student travel grants.
The Student Nook is a fun, friendly, and healthy environment for medical students between classes. Located in the Advancement and Alumni Relations Office, the Student Nook features Keurig Coffee, fresh fruit, and a variety of healthy snacks.
How can you help? $50 contributes to the Student Nook.
Residents are invited to apply for 90-day interest free loans. These loans assist them with unexpected expenses. Residents apply for Emergency Loans up to $500 in the office of Advancement and Alumni Relations.
Other Alumni Association Activities include:
- Resident Appreciation Day
- The Med Ball
- New Student Orientation
- Various Student Affairs activities
How can you help? $1000 assists with scholarships.
Distinguished Alumnus Award
Alfredo R. Vigil, MD
Alfredo Vigil, MD (‘77), practices family medicine in northern New Mexico. Vigil is the Board Chair of the Con Alma Foundation and NM Health Resources. He is a staff physician (and former CEO) at El Centro Family Health in Taos. Vigil was Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health from 2007 to 2010. Earlier in his career he was medical director of Questa Health Center in Questa, NM, and later Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Vigil has been active in community service throughout his career. He served as president of the New Mexico chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He was a member of the New Mexico Medical Board and the EMS Licensing Commission. Vigil has been a leader in professional recruitment and retention, medical ethics and healthcare access for New Mexicans. A longtime member of UNM’s clinical faculty, he is an active preceptor in the UNM School of Medicine primary care curriculum.
About the award: The true measure of the UNM School of Medicine's greatness is found in the achievements of its alumni. The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes an alumnus who has made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations and career exemplifies the School of Medicine’s legacy of excellence.
- 2016: Alfredo R. Vigil, MD (‘77)
- 2015: John Mateczun, MD (‘78)
- 2014: Anthony Yeung, MD (‘70)
- 2013: Manuel Archuleta, MD (‘73)
- 2012: Karen S. Guice, MD (‘77)
- 2011: Ernest T. Takafuji, MD (’71)
- 2010: Robert F. Melendez , MD (’00)
- 2009: Michael E. Kilpatrick, MD (’69)
- 2008: Margot H. Green, MD (’68), and Kathleen S. Kagan, MD (’68)
- 2007: Wilmer L. Sibbitt, Jr., MD (’77)
- 2006: Mario F. Pacheco, MD (’86)
- 2005: Diane J. Klepper, MD (HS)
- 2004: Jane W. McGrath, MD (’87)
- 2003: Gary D. Overturf, MD (’69)
- 2002: Cristina V. Beato, MD (’84)
- 2001: Allan L. Haynes, MD (’73)
- 2000: Donald E. Rodgers, MD (’68)
- 1999: Michael F. Hartshorne, MD (’78)
- 1998: Frank C. Cooper, MD (HS)
- 1996: Paul B. Roth, MD (HS)
- 1995: J. William Benge, MD (’74)
- 1994: Michael H. Trujillo, MD (’74)
- 1989: Drew Gaffney, MD (’72)
- 1987: George P. Bunch, MD (’68)
HS = House Staff
Leonard M. Napolitano, PhD, Award
Karen Armitage, MD
Karen Armitage, MD (HS ’81), is a pediatrician and public health physician. As Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, she directs "Vision 2020" within the Office for Community Health and is Course Director for the Comprehensive Ambulatory Care block in the School of Medicine. She was a 2014-2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, and is a strong proponent of evidence-based health policy to improve population health outcomes. She served as chief medical officer for the New Mexico Department of Health during the administration of Gov. Bill Richardson, working closely with Department of Health Secretary Alfred Vigil (this year’s Distinguished Alumnus). For more than fifteen years, Armitage has trained health professionals to participate in New Mexico legislative processes shaping health policy. She is an advocate for community-led interventions to address health disparities and evidence-based interventions to improve physical fitness in children and adults.
About the award: Dr. Napolitano was the UNM School of Medicine's third dean (1972-1994). His many contributions include his commitment to getting to know patients as individuals, which led to the development of the School of Medicine’s nationally recognized Primary Care Curriculum. The Leonard M. Napolitano, PhD, Award recognizes an alumnus who, like Dr. Napolitano, has built strong public and private partnerships while successfully advocating for and showing dedication to the School of Medicine and its patients through innovation and commitment to education.
- 2016: Karen Armitage, MD (HS ’81)
- 2015: Valerie Romero-Leggott, MD (’92)
- 2014: Albert Kwan, MD (’83)
- 2013: Catherine McClain, MD (’88)
Reconnect with your SOM classmates and fellow alumni at the annual reunion. Activities include campus functions with leadership, a family friendly event, class dinners and the alumni awards banquet.
2017 Alumni Reunion
UNM SOM Alumni Association Leadership
The role of the UNM School of Medicine Alumni Association is to improve alumni participation, support current and prospective medical students and House Staff, recognize achievements of alumni, and fundraiser to support the School of Medicine.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is dedicated to making a positive impact on the UNM School of Medicine by supporting medical students, house staff and alumni with activities, awards, scholarships, emergency loans and other special initiatives.
We are currently expanding our board into your region of the country; please inquire about our web-conferencing opportunities for you to join as a Board Member.
President: Robert Melendez, MD ('00)
- Vice President: Mario Pacheco, MD ('86)
- Treasurer: Jennifer Phillips, MD ('01)
- Paul Roth, MD, MS, Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the UNM School of Medicine
- Amanda Bassett, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations
Medical Resident/Student Board Memebers
- Anna Jones,1st year Resident
- Dani Castioni,('17)
- Francesca G. Garcia,('18)
- Manuel Archuleta, MD ('73)
- Santana Fontana, MD ('98)
- Diane Klepper, MD (House Staff)
- Margaret McCreery, MD ('74)
- Effie Medford, MD ('68)
- Diana Noya, MD ('78)
- Linda Stogner, MD ('83)
- Bert Umland, MD ('71)
- Sandra Whisler, MD ('89); Past President